Sara Dickson, the 2017 Metropolitan PGA Section Assistant Golf Professional of the Year, is a PGA Assistant Professional at The Country Club in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.
Tournament golf can be a challenge to fit into the busy lives of PGA Professionals. It can be difficult to leave the club or spend cherished time away from friends and family. However, the value of playing in events and tournaments has numerous benefits. After competing on the Women’s NCAA National Championship Golf Team at Methodist University, I did not play in a competitive event for three years after graduation. Then upon taking a new job, it was recommended by my PGA Head Professional to play in as many events as the club calendar would allow. A bit hesitant I asked, “What is the first step? ” “Sign up and the rest will follow,” was his advice. Naturally, I started to fit in time for small amounts of practice and personal lessons, and prioritized opportunities to play with members around prepping for the events for which I had signed up. Six years later, my playing focus as a PGA Professional had shifted 180 degrees as I came to realize the numerous benefits of playing in tournaments. My overall value as a PGA Professional and long-term enjoyment in the golf business are both dramatically increased through playing in tournaments.
Research shows most individuals shy away from competitive golf due to the fear of posting a score available to see by peers, members, bosses, etc. However, in my experience numerous positive effects have been produced through simply playing in more tournaments. For example, I gained a heightened ability to relate to students who are preparing for an event. I’ve also developed multiple relationships through competitive golf. In fact, I once ended up working for someone who I met while warming up on the range for a Section Championship. Also, I’ve received increased requests and opportunities to play with members both locally and at destination pro-ams, producing more networking opportunities. As best-selling author, speaker and consultant Jon Gordon indicates, “Critics write words but don’t write the future.” While it is certainly easier to opt out and scroll on a screen to see the scores of others, our PGA Professional value and long-term enjoyment in the golf business are enhanced through playing in tournaments.